Published 12:00 am Monday, June 20, 2005

Let’s be honest about the city jerking ads from the News Herald. No matter the city’s explanation for pulling their &uot;Insight&uot; page, it was a dumb move on the part of the Communications Director who may not have been acting on his own. He claims it was a cost cutting action and nothing else. Sure, and I am a Muslim. He said it was more important to publish and mail a brochure extolling the city accomplishments. OK, so what prompted that? Were they a bit concerned that the honked off taxpayers needed some uplifting? The director says he had only $7,000 left in his advertising budget for a $13,660 bragging piece. So where did he find the needed $6600? And if his advertising budget for the year was $32,000, is he already broke by the middle of June. Then I guess no newspaper will print anything from the city for the balance of 2005…but then I don’t know when the city year starts and ends.

We, who write for the paper, gratis, are aware that we often appear to be too negative. So what’s to prevent others from writing articles that are too positive? And advocates are forever jumping up at Council meetings extolling the virtues of downtown. We just try to offset some of that. They can write letters to the editor suggesting he give us a dressing down. That’s much better than intimidating the editor in any manner. I imagine some of my columns have put Prutsok in a pickle, or between a rock and a hard place. But he knows there are things about Suffolk and its government that tease some to &uot;ride herd.&uot; We live here as much as anybody, and pay our taxes. I just want them spent sensibly. I’ve been tough on Council but members still speak to me. President Truman did at least two things I admire…he had the guts to drop the bomb, and he said something about what to do if it gets too hot in the kitchen.

Council members Milteer and Johnson have expressed doubts about city action to stop using the News Herald for public information. I mentioned it to Mr. Barlow who seemed a bit surprised and agreed to look into the matter. That’s three down and one to go. And I, wonder, before it happened, how many Council members were aware of the apparent &uot;give-away&uot; to a downtown developer. The city doesn’t appear to be sweating to unload the Golf Course, Planters Club, 25 acres on Main, or the Obici House. Why should the city be in any business other than serving the entire populace?

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How many millions do those items represent? Let’s see, we’ve got 6.8 million in the Cultural Center, 9 million in the hotel, 4 million in the Main Street 25 acres, 50 thousand in the all but forgotten courthouse fountain, and we seem to be out another million and a half on the seawall. The Golf Course and Obici House would fetch a pretty penny, and the Planter’s Club a few. I suppose we could call that list &uot;assets,&uot; but unloading all that stuff would be a start toward getting out of debt. How come they only unloaded the Jefferson School?

There is more money being spent on breast implants and male enhancements today than on Alzheimer’s research. This means that by 2040, there will be a large elderly population that can’t remember why they spent the money. And judging by the number of Suffolk citizens that are registered to vote but don’t bother, something that they are taking is already affecting their brain. We asked the mayor for a simple question on the next ballot asking if we are interested in exploring a different way to elect our mayor. Two questions: will he remember that he said it would be done; and will people vote? I asked a man who says he never votes what his birthday was. He said, July 18.&uot; I asked him what year. He said, &uot;every year.&uot; I’m glad he doesn’t vote.

I had some time over the weekend; it was too hot outside to putz around in the garden so I pulled a chair under a fan and caught up on reading a few books I had accumulated over the year. In less than one hour I had dispatched them all. I’ll list them for you just in case you haven’t read them. FRENCH WAR HEROES by Jacques Chirac, HOW I SERVED MY COUNTRY by Jane Fonda, THINGS I CANNOT AFFORD by Bill Gates, THINGS I WOULD NOT DO FOR MONEY by Dennis Rodman. After a break for lunch I attacked, DETROIT, a travel guide, A GUIDE TO DATING ETIQUETTE, by Mike Tyson, MY PLAN TO FIND THE REAL KILLERS, by O. J. Simpson, and BRIDGE TRAVEL, by Ted Kennedy. It was near naptime so I started, MY BOOK OF MORALS by Bill Clinton, with introduction by Jesse Jackson. The intro took an hour.

Robert Pocklington is a regular columnist for the News-Herald. E-mail him at